By Brian Niles Explore Big Sky videographer

I remember my first day of skiing: Riding between by dad’s legs at age 5, struggling to make it up the rope tow at Hoodoo Ski Bowl, in Oregon.

From this framework my father built grew an obsession I’ve carried for the past 30 years. For me, skiing is not just the sport. It’s early mornings, the smell of melted ski wax, the constant monitoring of the weather, and the chit chat with friends at the top of a run before dropping in.

This is why Faction’s mission resonates with me: “Skis are more than just pieces of wood, steel and fiberglass, they are tools of escape, and a medium for personal expression.”

Faction Skis is made up of individuals sharing similar values, and their products are a great representation of their love for the sport.

The Agent 100 was built with backcountry skiers in mind – for those who want a light ski to climb, and a rigid ski to descend. The balsa wood core on my 179s made them feel agile and snappy on the skin up and on steep switchbacks.

With a tip width of 132 mm and a slight rocker, they can blow through crud. On the packed snow, I found the tail of the ski to be extremely responsive, creating rebound between each turn. Because I have a racing background, I could appreciate the camber underfoot (102mm at the waist) and straight tail (122mm). Plus, the Agents have enough rigidity for when I want to open it up.

As my annual Thanksgiving morning sunrise hike/ski neared, I’ve been looking forward to escaping with friends and enjoying a sunrise with a hot cup of coffee before descending into the morning light. It’s the little things that matter.

$899 factionskis.com